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Swedish government spent more on welfare benefits than would have been expected

Thursday, 17 May 2012
The Swedish state spend Skr430 billion, or over 73 percent increase during the period 1993-2010, on social and welfare benefits in Sweden but in terms of share of GDP, expenditure on welfare expenses on the contrary decreased significantly.

The Swedish society's bill is high for a social safety net - such as pensions, unemployment benefits, health care and child care. The cost of such protection in 2010 was Skr1016 billion, of which spending on old age and health care accounted for more than 65 percent, according to data from Statistics Sweden.

Since 1993, spending on welfare, measured in monetary terms, increased year by year. Spending in 2010 is Skr430 billion higher than spending in 1993, resulting in an increase of over 73 percent.

But measured as a proportion of gross domestic product (GDP), the picture is different. 1993-2000 saw reduced spending as a share of GDP which fell steadily, but it started rising for three consecutive years, thereafter. Between 2004-2007 was a fall in such expenditure and then it started increasing within the periods 2008 – 2009 and then started decreasing again in 2010.

But viewed over the entire period 1993 – 2010, expenditure on social benefits and such protections in terms of percentage GDP declined sharply. Expenditure was 37.3 percent of GDP in 1993, dropped to 30.5 percent in 2010.
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